The UK has been accused of ‘discriminating’ against Africa by failing to open travel corridors to the continent.
Africa is one of the few continents with no corridor from the UK, meaning that all travellers are forced to quarantine for 14 days.
This is despite the UK now having higher rates of Covid-19 cases compared to many African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.
UK travel corridors are currently in place to Singapore and Malaysia in Asia; counties in Europe such as Germany and Italy; Antigua, Barbados and Cuba in the Caribbean plus Australia and New Zealand although both countries’ borders remain closed to international travellers.
The Africa Travel and Tourism Association has launched a petition and is calling for a review of the travel corridors list to countries in Africa “in line with the same metrics used for the rest of the world”.
Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen said: “With such low Covid infections, it seems discriminatory to not have any corridors to African countries from the UK.
“Health measures are extremely good in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa, so it doesn’t make sense for Africa to be effectively cut off from the UK anymore.
“I urge the UK government to open up corridors as they would be a lifeline for so many.”
Jimi Kariuki, managing director of Sarova Hotels & Resorts in Kenya, said: “In Kenya, all UK and close to all EU nationals are exempted from quarantine on arrival provided they present a valid Covid-19 negative result.
“We feel that it is very unfair to slap blanket quarantine requirements on all African countries yet as a continent we have continued to record much lower cases of infection than the UK and Europe.
“Infection cases in Kenya currently stand at 0.08% of our total population. The tourism value chain is vast supporting industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, transport, construction, insurance, security as well as the most vulnerable groups such as women, youth, self-employed and MSMEs.
“Their livelihoods are seriously at risk if the tourism sector is not supported by international visitor arrivals as their businesses are highly dependent on a strong and vibrant tourism industry.”
Alice Gully, co-owner of specialist operator Aardvark Safaris, said: “Africa is being treated like the dark continent of colonial times rather than one that is highly experienced in dealing with viruses.
“African countries have some of the world’s lowest Covid numbers and some of the best protocols in place to keep their population and visitors safe.
“Advising against all but essential travel to a country like Kenya that has had 777 deaths, but has 7 million employed in tourism, is a humanitarian disaster not to mention the knock on effects to conservation, wildlife and the wider community.”
Rwanda’s ambassador to the UK, Yamina Karitanyi, said: “Many African countries, like Rwanda, have done an impressive job keeping case numbers at a low level.
“Now RwandAir is flying from Heathrow to Kigali, we hope an air corridor can be opened up quickly as we’re a country proud of our record keeping Covid away.”
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